On Craigslist: Hook Ups, Second-Hand Furniture and, Now, Broker-Dealers
Psst, wanna buy a broker-dealer?
James Gilbert has one to sell you for just $30,000, and you can read all about it on Craigslist.
In what may be a history-making debut for the online marketplace best known for dating hookups, rental ads and second-hand furniture sales, Craigslist is now marketing financial firms.
“PSAS, a FINRA and NASD Member since 1992, is COMPLETELY CLEAN, with a perfect and pristine 20+ year history and track record of no customer complaints and no compliance problems, ever!,” exclaims the ad for Sherman Oaks, California-based Pension Service Associates Securities that Gilbert posted Wednesday.
In an email, Gilbert, 67, explained that he now lives in Bangkok and is hanging up his spurs after a 33-year brokerage career that began at Merrill Lynch and culminated with his joining PSAS almost 25 years ago.
“Owning the BD is no longer important to me, and is just a hassle,” Gilbert wrote. “I want to retire from work, and the revs the BD generates are not adequate for me to keep running it.”
As might be expected, the Craigslist come-on emphasizes the brokerage’s most alluring assets.
“BD collects approximately $4,000-$6,000 annually in mutual fund trailers,” a highlighted box at the top of the notice advertises.
Securities and Exchange Commission officials have recently discussed restricting perpetual sales-commission trails and the Department of Labor’s impending conflict-of-interest restrictions on IRA rollover sales also may put so-called 12b-1 fees on the endangered revenue source, so Gilbert’s ad notes:
“[L]ines of business can easily be expanded to include private placements.”
The firm, which holds about $2 million in mutual fund IRA rollover and SEP IRA assets, services about 75 clients “who have all been with PSAS for a minimum of 12 years,” the notice says. It also promises a “comprehensive due diligence pack….with 10-years of filing, tax returns and certified audits for buyer’s review” to “qualified individuals who are licensed, have no compliance problems and are approved by Finra for Broker-Dealer ownership.”
Gilbert, who also runs a company called Pension Systems Corp. that offers 401(k) software to plan providers and financial advisors, is not holding his breath waiting for responses.
“The is just a shot in the dark,” his email says.
He has tried this approach before. An ad on trumpets selling points similar to those on Craigslist, with one exception. The asking price there is for $85,000.